Skip to main content

Out of Sight

Jan 15, 2012 03:40PM, Published by Mike, Categories: Life+Leisure, Today




The Great Outdoors by Rafe Hembree

It's that time of year yet again where we can always appreciate some of our heightened senses. Personally for me, my olfactory zone seems to get overloaded in the turn of the fall and winter. Don't misunderstand; I can appreciate the smell of a Summer BBQ, a dewy morning, fresh melon, gardenias, margaritas, etc. But, something about the fall and winter really resonates with me. This time of year brings new life to my sense of sound as well. Some say that I have selective hearing although I think that's just ridiculous. Shortly following that accusation, the debate begins how I can hear a buck deer snort from a hundred yards away, yet can't hear a question posed to me from across the room.

Fortunately, we live in a state where there are many differences, regionally speaking, in terms of significant yet distinguishable smells and sounds. For example, South Texas gets the coastal gulf air and the squawking of seagulls to start and end the day. East Texas has the sharp smell of the piney woods as whip-poor-wills serenade the night. The dusty plains of West Texas have the burn off of oil/gas wells and feedlots. For us North/Central Texans, we get a little combination of it all depending on which way the wind is blowing. As often as I can, which is never often enough it seems, I like to get away from the rat race and head to the ranch. It sounds silly, but I look forward to the smell of West Texas and its red dirt. Every time I take in that smell; it puts me in that proverbial happy place.

A friend of mine who tragically lost his vision when we were elementary school kids swears he can see better than me. That's due in large part because his other senses have become so much sharper. He doesn't hunt for obvious reasons, but he'll go and listen to everything and sometimes "see" the game before me, which is sometimes comically frustrating. When I'm around him, my sense of smell and sound also become elevated. Learning from him has made me more aware of my immediate surroundings and how to greater appreciate their offerings.

Sometimes after a long day of trekking afield in search of pheasants or quail, our group congregates around the evening campfire and swaps stories. Of course most of them are inflated to a degree or two, but true nonetheless. The fire boasts of dried mesquite and scrub oak. Usually, there's a wet dog or two lying beside it absorbing its warmth while trying to dry. Some of the gentlemen sitting around in a half circle around the flame are often times sipping a whiskey of sort and some of them will always light a nice cigar. The aroma from of all the aforementioned may be offensive to some people in any setting. But, out in the open, under the evening starry sky, I'd bet the experience of these smells might change some hearts and minds. There's probably no other time one can claim a wet dog smell to be pleasant. It's moments like these that make a grown man say with conviction that emits warmth out into the open, "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world other than right here, right now."

To partner with the sense of smell, have you ever heard the coyotes howl in the evening or a Horned Owl waking at dusk? Both of these sounds are depicted as scary in some instances, but they are quite the opposite. The next time you go to your outdoor destination of choice, try and listen for sounds such as scolding squirrels high above, letting you know that they're aware of your presence. As you sit along a river or creek bank, listen for turkey hens scratching in the leaves in search of winter seeds. As you approach a lake or stock pond, there could be a group of Mallards quacking and splashing incessantly as the warm sun shines on their down. When hunting, fishing, hiking, or even camping try and listen to all that nature has to offer.

Every outdoor enthusiast always remembers and reflects on what they see. The beauty of a shaft of sunshine through a mesquite tree or the gentle landing of a Pintail drake on a stock pond is naturally and visually attractive. Next time your heart leads you on a path outside, try to take in the all the elements that are OUT of sight. Whatever your intent is for your venture, remember to use your other senses to enjoy your time and appreciate what the great outdoors has to offer. This is the wealth of the world and as outdoor men and women we are the wealthiest!

Southlake's Rafe Hembree is a born and raised Texan, husband and father of two. Rafe, a Texas Tech alumn, has been hunting and fishing since he was knee high to a praire dog. A true outdoorsman and conservationist, he travels the world in search of the best hunting and fishing locales, especially for his favorite activity - Saltwater Fly Fishing. A volunteer guide with Reel Recovery Rafe looks forward to sharing his experiences with family, friends and readers of Southlake Style.




  • Mansfield Farmer's Market

    10/01/2016
    08:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join us for the 13th season of the Mansfield Texas Farmers Market! Potted plants, baked good...


  • Beautification Day & Shred Day

    10/01/2016
    08:00AM — 12:00PM

    The Beautification Day and Shred Day are a chance for residents to bring in their old, bulky item...


  • St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Community in Grapevine is celebrating their 67th anniversary with ...


  • Weekly Guided Autumn Hikes

    10/01/2016
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    Hikes feature current natural history events such as monarch butterflies, dragonflies, cardinals,...


  • Calloway's Nursery Fall Festival

    10/01/2016
    09:00AM — 07:00PM

    Join Calloway’s Nursery for its annual Fall Festival, a family event featuring a variety of free,...


  • Fire Safety Palooza

    10/01/2016
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    The Mansfield Fire Department and its Safety Clowns host this community-wide the first Saturday i...


  • 'The Light Blonde' Pop-Up Shop at E.Leigh's

    10/01/2016
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Be one of the first in town to shop the BRAND NEW Fall 2016 line from The Light Blonde. Meet the ...


  • the Patch at Southlake

    10/01/2016
    01:00PM — 07:30PM

    A fun family pumpkin patch open seven days a week during the month of October. Sun-Thurs 1pm-dar...


  • SEUSSICAL™

    10/01/2016
    01:30PM

    "Oh, the thinks you can think" when Dr. Seuss' best-loved characters collide and cavort in an unf...


  • Oktoberfest Season Celebration

    10/01/2016
    02:00PM — 02:00AM

    Come enjoy our great selection of German and American Oktoberfest beers! Oktoberfest sponsored Tr...


  • SEUSSICAL™

    10/01/2016
    04:30PM

    "Oh, the thinks you can think" when Dr. Seuss' best-loved characters collide and cavort in an unf...


  • 2016 GADA Fall Gallery Night will feature Grapevine’s artistic offerings and GADA’s six member ga...


  • Mavericks Home Volleyball Game

    10/01/2016
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Volleyball game being hosted at The College Park Center by the UT Arlington Mavericks collegiate ...


  • Features an original story, and it's every father's nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate pri...


  • Late Day Sun at Taverna Rossa

    10/01/2016
    09:30PM — 12:30AM

    Late Day Sun has been together for over 3 years and is comprised of experienced musicians who hav...


  • the Patch at Southlake

    10/02/2016
    01:00PM — 07:30PM

    A fun family pumpkin patch open seven days a week during the month of October. Sun-Thurs 1pm-dar...


  • SEUSSICAL™

    10/02/2016
    01:30PM

    "Oh, the thinks you can think" when Dr. Seuss' best-loved characters collide and cavort in an unf...


  • Oktoberfest Season Celebration

    10/02/2016
    02:00PM — 02:00AM

    Come enjoy our great selection of German and American Oktoberfest beers! Oktoberfest sponsored Tr...


  • Features an original story, and it's every father's nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate pri...


  • Features an original story, and it's every father's nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate pri...


  • SEUSSICAL™

    10/02/2016
    04:30PM

    "Oh, the thinks you can think" when Dr. Seuss' best-loved characters collide and cavort in an unf...


  • 2016 Annual Open Juried Art Show & Sale

    10/03/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Art Exhibit showcasing local artists hoping to win awards. Exhibition Open Sept. 18-October 14:...


  • the Patch at Southlake

    10/03/2016
    01:00PM — 07:30PM

    A fun family pumpkin patch open seven days a week during the month of October. Sun-Thurs 1pm-dar...


  • Oktoberfest Season Celebration

    10/03/2016
    02:00PM — 02:00AM

    Come enjoy our great selection of German and American Oktoberfest beers! Oktoberfest sponsored Tr...


  • 2016 Annual Open Juried Art Show & Sale

    10/04/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Art Exhibit showcasing local artists hoping to win awards. Exhibition Open Sept. 18-October 14:...


  • the Patch at Southlake

    10/04/2016
    01:00PM — 07:30PM

    A fun family pumpkin patch open seven days a week during the month of October. Sun-Thurs 1pm-dar...


  • Oktoberfest Season Celebration

    10/04/2016
    02:00PM — 02:00AM

    Come enjoy our great selection of German and American Oktoberfest beers! Oktoberfest sponsored Tr...


  • Adult Basketball League

    10/04/2016
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Lace up your sneakers and join the fun. This is a full court league with games played on Tuesday ...


Read This Month's Digital Issue